> our title:

US Navy Deploys MQ-9 and UH-60 on LCS

> original title:

First Manned, Unmanned Detachment Deploys Aboard Littoral Combat Ship

(Source: US Navy; issued Nov 17, 2014)

A sailor performs preflight checks on an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3). Fort Worth is underway participating in a task group exercise in preparation for an upcoming deployment to the 7th Fleet.

SAN DIEGO --- The "Magicians" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35 Detachment 1 departed Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, California, Nov. 17, to join USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) on her maiden deployment.

The departure marks the first time the multi-mission MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopter are deployed together aboard a littoral combat ship.

Lt. Cmdr. Doug Kay, the officer-in-charge of HSM-35 Detachment 1, spoke with media briefly prior to the detachment's departure.

"I have never been more confident in my detachment's capabilities and readiness," said Kay. "I have the right people, and they truly are America's best."

HSM-35 Detachment 1 will consist of one MH-60R and one MQ-8B. The Fire Scout will complement the MH-60R by extending the range and endurance to enhance maritime domain awareness. The deploying aviation detachment will consist of 24 personnel who are qualified to operate or perform maintenance on both the MH-60R and the MQ-8B.

"We are the first squadron to bring all three components together with the MH-60R, the Fire Scout unmanned system, and the littoral combat ship," said Kay. "It's exciting to be at the cutting edge of Naval Aviation as part of HSM-35."

As the next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk is the cornerstone of the Navy's Helicopter Concept of Operations. The MQ-8B Fire Scout system provides unique situational awareness and precision target support for the Navy and complements the MH-60R by extending the range and endurance to enhance maritime domain awareness.

Littoral combat ships are expected to routinely deploy with one Fire Scout and an H-60 as part of the ship's surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and mine countermeasures mission packages.

Fort Worth also departed San Diego Nov. 17 for the ship's scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.